Genre Busting

Every book has a genre, right? Or perhaps not. Trying to describe the particular genre of a book these days is not as cut and dried as some may think or even want it to be. When is a mystery not a mystery? When it’s suspense. But aren’t mysteries by definition, full of suspense? And what if a mystery novel also has a romance? Then it’s romantic suspense. Throw in something supernatural? Paranormal fiction. Add some magic and set it in the present day. Urban fantasy.  But what do you call a book that has mystery, romance, and a little magic? A paranormal urban fantasy suspense novel? Sheesh! Labeling can be taken too far!

Many folks want books to fit neatly into one major category, and we understand readers’ desires to find books in genres that they love. But good stories often have details that fall outside “the genre”. We love tales that include a little mystery, a little romance, a little adventure. Unexpected elements add interest and depth to a story. And if that means the book doesn’t fit neatly into one genre, so what? Most things that happen in life don’t fit neatly under one subject heading. Why should our books?

Of course, we know books must be classified in some way or searching for something to read could become very much like Indiana Jones searching for the Lost Ark. What we are applauding are writers who stretch the boundaries and take their particular genres for rides down new roads. Sure this may befuddle the people who love tidy labels, but the rest of us get the fun of enjoying stories that challenge our expectations.

Our book, Time’s Edge, is basically labeled sci-fi/fantasy. One review claimed it was pure fantasy, while someone else praised the book for being great science fiction. One called it a sci-fi romance, another a sci-fi/fantasy adventure. But several readers realized the book didn’t fit neatly into one particular genre. A recent review on Amazon said “I enjoy reading mystery books, science fiction books, fantasy books, and good ol’ fashioned shoot ’em ups. This book literally had all of these in there somewhere, plus a healthy dose of romance and, dare I say, lust thrown in for good measure.” Now this is our kind of reviewer. He understands that the line between genres has become blurred and what’s even better, he doesn’t seem to mind.

About jmdattilo

J.M. Dattilo is our pen name. We are the authors of the Time's Edge sci-fi/fantasy series.

Posted on June 25, 2011, in Authors, Reading, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Just like people, our stories are so much more than their labels : ).

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